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Old 05-28-2006, 09:37 PM   #1
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Backing - Method, Tricks, Pointers???

Now that I've picked up the AS, enjoyed camping in it for three nights and dragged it home, I have got to get comfortable backing the beast into camp sites. Before I take it to a deserted parking lot to practice, can you give me any pointers? How do you position your rig before beginning to back in? Reference points? Any specifics or rules of thumb would be helpful.

Thanks.

Ernie -
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Old 05-28-2006, 09:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by kudzu
Before I take it to a deserted parking lot to practice, can you give me any pointers? How do you position your rig before beginning to back in? Reference points? Any specifics or rules of thumb would be helpful.

Thanks.

Ernie -
1. Always remember you're pulling a trailer. Never get into a place without an exit strategy.

2. Backing is just as easy as driving forward.

a. Use your mirrors.

b. Always have a spotter. ( After 30 years of trailering, I violated this rule last month and backed my Airstream into a Juniper tree.)

c. Grip the bottom of the steering wheel. Move it in the direction you want the tail to travel.

d. Be gentle. Give the trailer time to answer the helm.

e. Make sure the spotter knows to look out for rocks,posts and pipes that could snag a B.A.L. jack and tree limbs, and overhangs that can snag the shiny aluminum.

f. Pick out the spot in advance where you want to place your roadside tire, and maneuver to that spot.
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Old 05-28-2006, 10:06 PM   #3
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Everyone is different....

...and you'll find the way that best suits you. I have no problems (but ours is only 22'- ) backing in ONLY if I look backwards. I cannot use my mirrors in the initial stages-only at "perfecting" the final parking spot. I have to look over my shoulder and back up-completely facing backward! I had an audience upon our return Saturday-three neighbors-and all it takes me is one try to get it parked having to do a 90 degree back up job. I heard clapping and a word of advice to get a trucking job! But for the life of me, I cannot back up using only mirrors facing forward- . So go figure. You will try until you find the method that suits you.
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Old 05-28-2006, 10:29 PM   #4
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Walkie Talkies for the spotter!!!!!! They come in real handy.
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:12 AM   #5
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The only thing I could add is that I like to walk on the camp site before I park there and look for any low trees or anything else thet would get in the way of the Airstream , also check utilities location, go slow and use your spotter ,,,,,Good luck !!!!
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:26 AM   #6
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Kudzu, congrats on your new AS. Try to watch the pros if you get a chance. Most tractor-trailer drivers prefer to back in to the left side. This allows you to see out your drivers side window. Use a point of reference on that side and don't give it up as you back around it. Pull forward small amounts to straighten / correct your over cuts.
An open parking lot with lines is the best place to start. When you can back straight then you're ready to insert into tighter spots.
When in doubt, stop, get out and survey, pull forward.
Remember that even the most seasoned commercial drivers go brain dead after a long time going forward. Learn by doing.
I actually back my motorhome into parking spots 95% of the time, so I can see where I'm going when I exit. The more you do it the better you get.
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:54 AM   #7
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patenice is the key.

don't rush, make sure your spotter watches for overhead obstuctions as well!

i have a cheap set of two way radios for blind spots, and in the interest of marital bliss never get hot under the collar with your helper!

i have also found removing the sway control and load bars makes turning the trailer into tight spots easier.

john
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:12 AM   #8
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Welcome and congratgulations. I am happy to hear that you are going to a parking Lot to practice. A smart young trucker, my son who drove a beer truck through the inner city of Milwaukee once told me that the bigger the better. He always wanted the long trailer when he set out in the morning because it had more control when backing up. I have to agree when I try to back my garden tractor trailer up its a disaster. You and the spotter need to speak the same language. Left means what? Just a little more is how many feet? Looks good could be too close to a tree. Decide on what you are saying. Walky, Talkies are really a good investment. I used to place my hand on the top of the steering wheel, top or bottom does not matter but make sure it is the top or bottom, a piece of tape will help or some kind of mark will help. I also had a piece of tape on dead center in my back window which lined up with the propane tank handle on the trailer. This allowed me to back straight using a reference through my mirrors. Now like Glen, I do better backing my motor home than going straight, thus I will always back into tight spots.
You will do just fine and be an expert after your first camping trip. On our maiden voyage with our trailer we went to the Keys and stayed at a private campground. The owner put me into a spot with inches on each side. Our neighbors were these multi hundred thousand dollar rigs and I did not scratch my beautiful trailer.
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:59 AM   #9
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Upon purchasing our 25’ Safari we realized that it would be impossible to get it into the same spot as our Globetrotter. I have a low house overhang and a narrow driveway and a wider trailer than the Globetrotter. Pictured below was the solution. I can move the trailer by objects with just a inch of clearance. Best piece of equipment I have ever purchased.
BTW Brady the owner of the company which builds the units is the easiest person to deal with I have ever met. He is all about customer service; he did not pay me for this endorsement.






http://www.powermoverinc.net/htmls/pmaccarts.html
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Old 05-29-2006, 10:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scf31
The only thing I could add is that I like to walk on the camp site before I park there and look for any low trees or anything else thet would get in the way of the Airstream , also check utilities location, go slow and use your spotter ,,,,,Good luck !!!!
scf31 is absolutely correct! This should be Step #1 no matter how much of a hurry you think you're in and no matter who is waiting. Get out of your tow vehicle, and walk the site. The longer you've been on the road, the more important this is. It allows you to decompress, clear your head, and change tempo from screaming down the highway to slowly backing in. As GlenCombe suggests, if you have a choice, always back in to your left. Funny how many RV parks supposedly designed for RVs are not set up this way, so you'll have to get good at backing right as well.

If your wife is your spotter, you can wear his and her Tee=Shirts whwnever it's time to back in.

Her tee-shirt says, "Stop shouting at me."

His says, "I'M NOT SHOUTING, DAMN IT."
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Old 05-29-2006, 10:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klevan
scf31 is absolutely correct!
If your wife is your spotter, you can wear his and her Tee=Shirts whwnever it's time to back in.

Her tee-shirt says, "Stop shouting at me."

His says, "I'M NOT SHOUTING, DAMN IT."
LOL
And don't take backing instruction on which way to cut it.Only listen for her to yell Stop your going to hit something!

The not rushing is the best advise yet.Always take a deep breath and relax first! Yep get out and walk around a bit first! Might not hurt if there are bunch of bystanders to image them in there underwear.
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:00 PM   #12
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I've attached a PDF I created for a trailer backing seminar I ran at a rally last month. If you print out the PDF double-sided, it will fold nicely in half and create a little booklet.

The three biggest take-away points from my backing up seminar are:

1) Get a ground guide -- someone to tell you what’s going on behind you as you back up.

2) Pre-establish hand signals with your ground guide as this will be the means they will communicate with you as you back-up the trailer.

3) Grip the steering with one hand at the 6 o-clock position. Move your hand in the direction you want the end of the trailer to move.

And, one last pointer, practice makes perfect!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Backing up a trailer.pdf (184.0 KB, 183 views)
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Old 05-29-2006, 01:35 PM   #13
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I agree with the advice given. My wife is always the spotter, and she claims that she is "directionally challenged". It is sometimes helpful for me to first walk the site with her before backing and discuss the line I need the trailer wheels to take. This helps her to signal me when to cut the tow vehicle wheels in order to get the AS to track properly.
Don't despair! Backing gets easy with practice. So.... practice, practice, practice.
Oh, and one last piece of advice. We ride a tandem bicycle.... by tandem etiquette I am considered the "captain" and she is the "stoker." Best advice we were ever given was, "The stoker is always right." So, by extension, "The spotter is always right." Saves a lot of trouble!
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Old 05-30-2006, 08:15 PM   #14
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Only one piece of advice that I got from a trucker and have used ever since. Don't be afraid or ashamed to back up more than once to get your unit properly aligned and make the last back up a straight one.
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